18 March 2009

Thommie Walsh

Dancer, Choreographer, Director

Thomas Joseph Walsh III was born in Auburn on 15 March 1950. After graduation from Auburn High School, he studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, but left the school in his junior year to tour with Disney on Parade. After the national tour of Applause! he played a small role in the film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. He made his Broadway debut in the cast of Seesaw (1973) and in the same year appeared in Rachel Lily Rosenbloom (and Don't You Ever Forget It). In 1975, Walsh participated in a series of conversations among Broadway dancers about their experiences and aspirations, and these conversations became the basis of A Chorus Line (1976) in which Walsh originated the role of Bobby, based in part on his own experience. With Baayork Lee, another member of the cast, he co-authored On the Line (1990), a history of the origin and development of A Chorus Line.

As a choreographer and director, Walsh's credits include The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1978), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (1980), Do Patent Leather Shjoes Really reflect Up? (1982), Nine (1982), My One and Only 91983), Marilyn: An American Fable (1983) and My Favorite Year (1992). He directed Donna McKechnie's one-woman show Inside the Music (2002). Walsh won Tony Awards for best choreography in A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (1980) and My One and Only (1983), and was nominated for Tony Awards for best choreography in Nine (1982) and for best direction of a musical for My One and Only (1983).

At the time of his death in 2007, Walsh was preparing a musical adaptation for Broadway of A Tale of Two Cities for of A Tale of Two Cities for a Broadway opening.

The Ten Commandments of Life

Thommie Walsh was the guest speaker at the commencement exercises of Auburn High School's Class of 1980. His remarks included his "The Ten Commandments of Life."

People are unreasonable, illogical and self centered.
Love them anyway!

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway!

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!

Honesty and frankness makes you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!

The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway!

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for the underdog anyway!

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway!

People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway!

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway!